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Howard leads No. 16 Butler past Buckeyes

Saturday, December 1, 2007


AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Butler is still beating up the big boys.

On a night the 16th-ranked Bulldogs didn't shoot well and their precision passing was out of sync, they still forced 24 turnovers and got 23 points from freshman Matt Howard in a 65-46 victory over Ohio State.

Butler (7-0) overcame a 12-point deficit in the second half for its fourth straight win over a foe from one of the six traditional power conferences.

Kousta Koufos led Ohio State (4-3) with 16 points, and David Lighty had 12. It was the Buckeyes' third loss in four games during an 11-day span in which they have faced four ranked teams.

It was an ugly start for the Bulldogs.

The nation's best 3-point shooting team was a miserable 1-of-16 in the first half and it avoided a shutout only because A.J. Graves hit a buzzer-beater that stood up to replay review at halftime. One of the nation's most flawless teams, in terms of turnovers, Butler committed eight in the first half after averaging 9.2 in its first six games.

And the Bulldogs' top three scorers -- Graves, Pete Campbell and Mike Green -- combined for five points in the half.

Thanks to Butler's miscues and Ohio State's big size advantage, the Buckeyes were in control jumping to a 15-5 lead and still leading 30-20.

But everything changed after Graves' 3 to close the half.

Trailing 32-20 early in the second half, Butler finally got itself righted. Three straight 3s got them within 32-29, and after Ohio State rebuilt a 38-31 lead with 12:58 left, Butler took over.

It outscored the Buckeyes 21-4 over the next 8 1/2 minutes to take a 52-42 lead and continued to pull away as Ohio State committed fouls and continued making mistakes. The Buckeyes finished with a season-high turnover total and scored only 16 second-half points in coach Thad Matta's return to his alma mater.

Green finished with 15 points, all in the second half, and Graves added 14 points. Howard had seven rebounds, and the Bulldogs finished 9-of-30 on 3s.

Ohio State's top scorer, Jamar Butler, was in early foul trouble and scored five points after averaging nearly 16 coming into the game.

Campbell left the game early with an apparent injury to his right knee.

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